How To Quit… Acting Like An Amateur Designer

Posted by Harshad

How To Quit… Acting Like An Amateur Designer

How To Quit… Acting Like An Amateur Designer

Posted: 17 Dec 2013 07:01 AM PST

Everyone has at least one designer friend who just gives off an air of unprofessionalism. Perhaps it’s even you, or maybe you can’t seem to maintain a consistent front to every client. Even if you get paid for the work you do, it can still seem as though you’re less of a "professional" designer, and more of a rank amateur. Why is that? What secrets do other designers have that makes them seem more "pro"?

Today, we’re going to examine what makes a designer look professional and desirable, rather than like one of the amateurish masses that clients dread. Spoiler alert: it’s probably not what you’re thinking.

Invest In Your Business

You have to spend money to make money. Once your freelance design business begins to turn a profit, investing in things like proper equipment and professional-looking marketing materials just makes more sense than struggling to make do with supplies that are inferior. The goal is to improve the efficiency with which you are able to find and complete work – working smarter, as they say, not harder.

If your software or hardware is outdated, and it’s slowing you down, say by 30%, you’re actually making 30% less money per hour than you could be. In fact, you’re probably cheating yourself out of even more than that, if you’re a fast worker and have a decent number of clients.

Outsource Nonessential Tasks

No successful business owner does everything themselves. It’s just not physically possible. You have to outsource tasks at some point if you want to grow, even if you plan to remain the sole designer. It’s easy to find people to do repetitive things, like paperwork or bookkeeping, that have to be done, but that simply eat up too much of your valuable time as a designer.

You can use online resources like oDesk and elance to begin delegating the daily work that goes into making your freelance business successful. However, it can be tricky finding just the right fit, and you’ll most likely have to go through the hiring process several times before you master it. Here’s a post on what to look out for when hiring freelance contractors.

It can be daunting to begin outsourcing tasks, but, again, it’s necessary to take you from tiny, struggling freelancer to fully professional outfit.

Work Like You Mean It

This is perhaps the most important component in making the transition from amateur to professional. In his book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield outlines what distinguishes an amateur from a professional, in any creative field.

He argues that amateurs are dilettantes, people who don’t give their work 100% of their effort. Amateurs don’t show up every day to do the difficult work that will propel them forward.

Pros, on the other hand, work like they mean it. They work even when they don’t feel like it. They work when they’d rather be doing just about anything else. It’s difficult to adopt the mindset of someone who takes their work completely seriously, but it’s important to gain and keep the advantage over our own inertia and overwhelm.

Don’t Be A Flake

Having been a design client myself, I’ve worked with designers who simply dropped the ball when it came to communicating with me regularly. Sometimes this resulted in blown deadlines, budgets, or opportunities when I didn’t hear from them for days or even weeks. It’s extremely frustrating when a designer blows you off, and I’d like to say it’s a rarity, but unfortunately it’s not.

The reality is, flakiness is one of the key marks of an amateur. It signals to a client that you don’t value them enough to make an effort to keep them in the loop. Don’t just give endless excuses for your radio silence (I’ve heard it all, but "I didn’t want to bother you" is especially common). Your client needs to receive regular updates on your progress so that they can plan accordingly should something go wrong.

Do Top Quality Work

Finally, you should make it a priority to always do the best job you can with your design work. It seems obvious, but so many designers get bogged down with tight deadlines and jobs they feel lackluster about.

However, if you’re trying to grow your freelance business and draw in higher paying clients, you’ll need to make every project a potential showpiece for which a client will be eager to hire you. So, don’t take shortcuts or do anything halfway. It will come back to haunt you, trust me.


5 Upcoming Bitcoin Mining Machines You Can Buy

Posted: 17 Dec 2013 05:01 AM PST

We’ve talked about Bitcoins before, and even put together a list of 20 places where you can spend them. But a list of places to spend Bitcoins isn’t of much use if you don’t have any Bitcoins. Sure, you could go to a Bitcoin exchange such as Mt.Gox and exchange your money for Bitcoins, but there’s always security risks involved in doing so. If you decide to mine Bitcoins yourself, it’d probably take you forever just to mine one Bitcoin using an everyday computer rig. So, what’s a budding Bitcoin enthusiast to do?


Well, if you’re serious about getting into Bitcoin, and don’t want to deal with the potential dangers of online Bitcoin exchanges, then there’s only one thing left to do: invest in a Bitcoin mining machine. These are purpose-built computers where the one and only aim is to mine as many Bitcoins as possible, as quickly as possible.

Intrigued? Here’s a list of 5 machines that will be shipping in the near future. Make sure you have some cash to burn!

1. Fast-Hash One

There are three machine models in the Fast-Hash One series of Bitcoin mining machines: the Silver Edition, the Gold Edition and the Platinum Edition. These are 19" rack mountable Bitcoin machines, with the main differences being their expandability and the power of the included mining modules. All three machines come with one mining module, but can be upgraded to have six.

Fast-Hash One

The Silver Edition is powered by a 64 GH/s module and tops out at 384 GH/s. The Gold Edition is powered by a 128GH/s module, with a maximum hash rate of 768GH/s. The Platinum Edition comes with the most powerful 256 GH/s module, and can go up to 1.536TH/s. Overall, when fully upgraded, these machines will mine anywhere from 0.2 up to 0.85 Bitcoins a day.

While the Silver Edition does not support expansion cases, both the Gold and Platinum Editions support up to six expansion cases, with each expansion case able to hold up to 16 modules, for even more mining power. The Fast-Hash One mining machines are available for pre-order.

Price: $2,499 – 5,999 for base units

2. CoinTerra TerraMiner IV

CoinTerra’s TerraMiner IV is a water-cooled Bitcoin mining machine powered by CoinTerra’s own in-house ASIC chips, the GoldStrike I. The TerraMiner IV is built on a 28nm process and comes in a 4U enclosure with a power supply included, which is a rarity in Bitcoin mining circles.

CoinTerra TerraMiner IV

The TerraMiner IV has four ASIC chips, and with each boasting a 500 GH/s hash rate, it means that the TerraMiner IV has a total hash rate of 2TH/s. At the current mining difficulty, that translates to just over 1.1 Bitcoins a day. CoinTerra also claim that the TerraMiner IV is power efficient, although there are no numbers available yet to prove this claim.

The April batch for the TerraMiner IV is open for pre-orders.

Price: $5,999

3. Hashfast Sierra

Hashfast’s Sierra is a high performance water-cooled Bitcoin mining machine powered by three Golden Nonce ASIC chips. It is built into a 4U rack mountable case and comes with two Seasonic power supplies built in.

HashFast Sierra

The Sierra has a nominal hash rate of 1.2 TH/s, which translates to about 0.66 Bitcoins a day as of the time of writing. The thing with the Sierra, though, is that it doesn’t have an on-board controller, so you’ll have to connect the Sierra to a main control unit via USB. This main control unit can be anything that will run CGminer, a mining software.

The Hashfast Sierra is open for pre-orders and is guaranteed to ship by March 31, 2014.

Price: $6,300

4. Black Arrow Prospero X-3

Black Arrow’s Prospero X-3 is powered by 20 Black Arrow Minion ASIC chips built into a 19" rack mount unit. The Minion ASICs are built on a 28nm process and are an in-house design. The Prospero X-3 will also have a built-in LCD display that will show statistics and diagnostics.

Black Arrow Prospero X-3

The 20 Minion ASIC chips in the Prospero X-3 give it a hash rate of 2TH/s, good for about 1.1 Bitcoins per day as of the time of writing. The Prospero X-3 has been designed with up to 20% under- and overclocks in mind. It also supports the lightweight Stratum mining protocol.

The Prospero X-3 is available for pre-order and is scheduled to be available at the end of February 2014.

Price: $6,999

5. KnCMiner Neptune

The KnCMiner Neptune is quite possibly the grand daddy of all Bitcoin mining machines. The Neptune is basically four modular 20nm ASIC boards, designed so that the machine will continue mining even if one (or more) of the boards fails. The Neptune follows up from their previous miner, the Jupiter, which was built on a 28nm process.

KnCMiner Neptune

The Neptune has a minimum hashing speed of 3TH/s, which translates to about 1.66 Bitcoins a day. This is a vast improvement on the Jupiter, which was only able to mine 0.6 Bitcoins a day. KnCMiner also mention that they have the right to increase the speeds as it nears shipment, so the Neptune might end up being even faster once it gets into miners’ hands.

The KnCMiner Neptune is currently available for pre-order, and is scheduled to begin shipping in Q1/Q2 of 2014, limited to 1200 units.

Price: $12,995


Easy Android ROMs Customization Through Xposed Framework

Posted: 17 Dec 2013 02:01 AM PST

Besides the usual customization we can do with Android launchers and Android widgets, we also love to try new features that available on custom ROMs. But custom ROMs can be unstable and buggy sometimes and the process to flash over to a new ROM is very time-consuming, especially if you need to restore your backup and app settings.

Through Xposed Framework, by just downloading and installing a ready-made module you can make modification (modules) to any element of the OS or the app itself without the need of flashing a new ROM. For example, if you ever need to skip YouTube ads on your android, download the module for that, install, enable and reboot your device for the effect to take place immediately.

Xposed Framework

Xposed Framework is getting popular among Android enthusiasts thanks to its easy-to-use interface and added safety which helps you recover easily if it end up soft-bricking your Android device. Also, since Xposed Framework needs to access the Android core system, you need a rooted device for this app to work.

Installing Xposed Framework

Make sure your device is running on Android 4.0.3 or later and you have already enabled Unknown Sources in Settings > Security. You may start by downloading the Xposed Framework app installer here and then install it.

Once installed, open the app and tap on Framework.


Tap on Install/Update and you will be prompted with a superuser message, grant access to it to begin installing. After that, tap on Reboot to restart your device and you can then begin downloading modules.

Install Xposed Framework

Download Modules

Now you are ready to download modules and within the app, there is a download section for you to pick out which features you want on your device. For example, YouTube AdAway, BootManager, Xprivacy. Head over to XDA forums to look for more Xposed Modules.

Choose the module you would like to download, tap on it and then tap on Download. Next, install it.

Install Module

When you receive the notification to activate the module, in the drop-down notification bar, tick it to enable it.

Xposed Module Is Not Activated

Reboot your device afterwards for the changes to take effect.

Bootloop? Disable Xposed Framework

If somehow you end up with a bootloop on your Android device, there is a zip file that you can flash to disable Xposed Framework. This zip file is automatically available after you install Xposed Framework on your device and it is located in your device sdcard folder.

In your Android Recovery, locate "Xposed-Disabler-Recovery.zip", flash it to disable Xposed Framework.


By itself Xposed Framework is just a framework and no files on the device itself are modified since you are using modules to customize your Android device and these modules can be disabled easily. If you want to stay on a stock rom and have custom ROMs functionality, Xposed Framework is your answer.



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